21 Dec 2013

How to make the most of house guests or visitors

I am lucky enough to have my mother visiting for a month. She is an excellent guest, easy going, accommodating, interested in what we are doing and keen to know her grandchildren in New Zealand more.
Mum and her Grandchildren in NZ
I am very proud of her ability at almost eighty to fly for 28 hours to be with us. She looks marvelous. Her great company is a reminder of what we miss out on, but I relish every moment of being with her.

This is the time of year when many people will have visitors. They may be staying for more than one day. Immigrants with visitors often have family or friends staying for a few weeks at least. It is lovely to have them but those who have or have had visitors will agree there is some merit to the saying, 'Fish and family, out after three days.'

How do you make the most of your house guests?
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  1. Don’t be surprised by the change in your home and routines. You want to make the most of your time with your guests so make the guests needs the priority in the house. Warn those in the house that there will be adjustments; differences in meals, less routines, entertainment by face to face rather than face to screen. If necessary remind the household members the adjustments are temporary.
  2. Younger children may struggle with the change in routine and dynamics. Explain to your visitors the needs of the children that need to be kept up. Encourage your visitor to spend time with the children, especially playing. Then your children are more likely to see the visitor as a friend rather than a foe who disrupts their routine and usual share of attention.
  3. Think of the visitors. They have had their routines disrupted far more than you or members of your household. They are probably suffering from culture shock, travel fatigue and as they are your guest, will be unsure of what is happening today or tomorrow.  If it means a lot to them to have prunes to keep them regular, or a morning tea, coffee or daily walk, be happy to provide this for them. Anything that will help them feel more comfortable.
  4. Everyone will (hopefully) be trying to be on their best behaviour. It is hard work to be nice all the time. Allow each other time out to be alone, read a book, go for a walk, go to bed early.
  5. Each visit is different. This is my mother's 11th visit to  New Zealand over a period of 26 years. So she is a seasoned visitor. This time we sedately celebrated her 80th birthday with a lunch, 20 years ago we gave her a hot air balloon ride for her 60th Birthday. The needs change of both guests and hosts. Twenty years ago when Mum and Dad were visiting, one of the best times was a meal out with them and not our preschoolers. Now those preschoolers have taken Mum out for the day or cooked for her. All precious times.
  6. Mum getting to know Kiwi folk at the Auckland Botanical Gardens Sculpture Display

  7. If your visitors are able, allow them to do some exploring themselves. They will enjoy coming back to you and telling you their tales and discoveries.
  8. Take photos and make memories. These are good to dwell on later when your visitors have gone and you are missing them again.

The group Internations have some interesting articles on being abroad during the holiday season or returning home for a visit.. Have a look here.

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